Chris L. Nicastro, the education chief for Missouri, said at a state board meeting last Friday that she needs more time to figure out a recommendation on what to do about the struggling 17,000-student Kansas City district.
The district is set to lose its accreditation at the start of the new year. Recently, I wrote about how the school systems surrounding the Kansas City district may see an influx of new students because of a state law that allows children living in unaccredited districts to seek an education in a nearby accredited school system. This has already played out in St. Louis, another unaccredited Missouri district, and is the subject of a court battle.
The Kansas City Star writes that Nicastro said she is hampered by not enough legal authority, and too many competing ideas:
Nicastro had hoped to recommend the state's action at the board meeting in Branson, but because the community remains divided, making a choice now "would only add to the dysfunction and prolong the disruption for children and adults." While waiting for the community and the state legislature to act, Nicastro said, the school district's leadership and its educators, working with the state's support team, must continue to intensify their efforts through the district's ongoing transformation plan.
One of the latest ideas to pop up comes from Sylvester James, the mayor of Kansas City, who says that the mayor’s office should take over the school system. In a letter to Nicastro released publicly last Friday, he also said that any accreditation decision should be delayed until July 1. As he told the local television station KCMO today, “our children are not learning.”
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A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.